Tag Archives: Yoga

On Yoga | Back to the Mat

18 May

Some time ago, I came across a parable of sorts, wherein a man in prison receives a prayer rug from a friend, though what he actually sought was a way out. After days of repeating the Salaat, or daily prayers, he notices a pattern in the weave of the rug at the point where his head touches the ground. Upon meditating on the pattern, he discovers it is actually a diagram of the lock of his cell. Through his prayer and meditation, he is able to escape his prison.

I’ve always liked this metaphor and the idea that through prayer or meditation of some sort, regardless of one’s beliefs, one might find the truth one seeks or, sometimes, truth unsought.

I was reminded of this story during my yoga practice today. After an exhausting semester, I finally made my way back to the yoga mat, heavy with the weight of work, teaching, and grading, a daily grind that, though important to me, often removes me from a sense of my self.  Initially, it was difficult to let go of the running thoughts I’ve had over the past three weeks.

Did I grade fairly and unbiased? Did I meet the needs of my students? Did I submit grades correctly?

As I moved through the asanas, or postures, however, such thoughts gradually receded as my focus was narrowed only to movement and breath. The inner ‘to-do list’ was, for that moment, silenced.  Through the vinyasa, or flow of each connected movement, the weight of work and worry was lifted. With my forehead against the mat or my arms spread wide in warrior stance, like the man in the story,  I was able to see, without even searching, that which is truly important.